Hong Kong financial group invests in low-cost multiplexes

Grab, the leading on-demand transportation and mobile payments platform in Southeast Asia, steps up its game with new investments. DiDi and Softbank open their wallets wide for Grab's current financing round The ride-hailing firm yesterday announced that DiDi Chuxing (DiDi), the world’s leading one-stop mobile transportation platform, and SoftBank Group Corp. (SoftBank), a global technology leader driving the Information Revolution, will invest up to $2.0 billion to lead Grab’s current financing round. Grab anticipates that it will raise an additional $500 million, bringing the total to $2.5 billion in this round from existing and new investors. This is the largest single financing round in the history of Southeast Asia. DiDi and SoftBank will continue to support Grab’s vision of helping customers in Southeast Asia access safe transportation and financial products, whilst creating employment opportunities. Grab is by far the most dominant on-demand transportation platform in the region, with a market share of 95 per cent in third-party taxi-hailing and 71 per cent in private vehicle hailing. The company will continue to strengthen its already-leading market position and invest in GrabPay, its proprietary mobile payments solution. Anthony Tan, the group’s CEO and co-founder, said that, “We are delighted to deepen our strategic partnership with DiDi and SoftBank. We are encouraged that these two visionary companies share our optimism for the future of Southeast Asia and its on-demand transportation and payments markets, and recognise that…... [read more]

With the aim of expanding operations in Vietnam, Carlton & United Breweries (CUB) has become a new competitor in the race to seize the stakes in Hanoi Beer, Alcohol and Beverages Corporation (Habeco) and Saigon Beer, Alcohol and Beverages Corporation (Sabeco). Australian brewer CUB will join the fray for the shares of both Habeco and Sabeco The companies intentions were stated by CUB general director Jan Craps at the meeting of Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue and the delegation of Australian enterprises on July 24, according to newswire Vnexpress. According to Jan Craps, CUB plans to expand its operations in the southern province of Binh Duong and is looking to become the strategic investor of both Habeco and Sabeco. According to information released by the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) at its monthly press conference organised on July 14, the sale of state stakes will be carried out this year. Bui Truong Thang, deputy director general of MoIT’s Light Industry Department, said Habeco will submit its divestment plan to the ministry this week and Sabeco’s divestment plan will also be submitted before the end of the month. At present, Habeco signed with Bao Viet Securities Company (BVSC) and Vietnam Valuation and Finance Consultancy (VVFC), appointing them as the consultancy firms for the state divestment. Regarding Sabeco, according to unofficial information, a venture of BVSC, VVFC, and Earnst & Young Vietnam Limited…... [read more]

Increasing the regional minimum wages for early 2018 continues to be a topic of heated debate between the employers and local authorities. Policy-makers, trade unions, and enterprises face off over this year's minimum wage increase At the first meeting organised last last month to discuss the increase of the regional minimum wages for 2018, various options for the wage were recommended, including increases of 5, 6, and 6.8 per cent. Specifically, the National Salary Council proposed the highest increase of 13.3 per cent. Thus the maximum wage difference between these opinions was a whopping 8 per cent, giving ample grounds for debate. Vu Quang Tho, director of the Institute of Workers and Trade Unions, said that according to the institute’s survey results, the living standards of Vietnamese employees are still low and an offset of 21 per cent in the minimum salary would be required to help employees meet minimum living standards. In 2017, the minimum salary was increased by 7.3 per cent, thus the increase of 13.3 per cent for 2018 could be reasonable. However, a representative of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) said that the economy has yet to warrant such a high raise and VCCI would be happy with an increase of under 5 per cent or even keeping wages unchanged. Regarding the employers, Than Duc Viet, deputy general director of Garment No.10 Corporation, also proposed to keep the minimum wage unchanged in 2018 because there…... [read more]

Fortinet (NASDAQ: FTNT), the global leader in high-performance cybersecurity solutions, today announced it has been recognised as a leader in the 2017 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Network Firewalls. The report evaluated Fortinet’s Security Fabric, its ‘completeness of vision’ and ‘ability to execute’ as factors for the placement in the Magic Quadrant. As a foundation of the Fortinet Security Fabric, the FortiGate Enterprise Firewall is the only solution that delivers the scale, automation, and performance needed to protect from the edge to the datacenter and from IoT to the Cloud. More than 310,000 customers trust Fortinet solutions to deliver the broadest, most powerful and highly automated security to defend their entire attack surfaces. FortiGate Enterprise Firewall customers have enthusiastically provided 288 perfect 5-star reviews and 498 total reviews on Gartner Peer Insights – compared with the 418 reviews for the next 10 enterprise firewall vendors combined as of July 12. Independent evaluation and market analysis conducted by firms like Gartner are critical to help businesses determine the best vendors to protect their critical data and assets against an increasingly hostile threat landscape. “Cybersecurity is a very dynamic space. Customer requirements keep evolving, the attack surface is growing as mobile devices, cloud computing and IoT is used in corporate networks, and the threat landscape is getting more sophisticated and automated," Ken Xie, founder, chairman of the board and CEO at Fortinet. "Just over a year ago, we launched our Fortinet Security Fabric technology vision…... [read more]

Le Ha of Ha Noi, who has been selling clothes on Facebook, is stressed and worried after receiving a message from tax authorities inviting her to come and declare her income. Clothes are advertised on a Facebook page. A tax administration project for e-commerce business has been drawn up, with the two taxation departments of Ha Noi and HCM City functioning as pioneers in bringing business owners selling merchandise on social media, especially Facebook, into the tax bracket.-VNS Photo Truong Vi Ha is one of over 13,400 Facebook account holders in Ha Noi who’ve been identified by the Ha Noi Taxation Department as online traders. “I have been selling clothes through Facebook for years, getting about 10 orders each day with maximum daily sales of around VND5 million (US$220),” Ha told Viet Nam News, admitting that unlike other shop owners, she doesn’t have to declare her business or pay taxes. She was satisfied with her earnings and not having to bother about any intervention from State management agencies. The promise of attractive profits has prompted many people to jump on the bandwagon, catching the attention of authorities trying to reduce tax losses from State budget collection. A tax administration project for e-commerce business has been drawn up, with the two taxation departments of Ha Noi and HCM City functioning as pioneers in bringing business owners selling merchandise on social media, especially Facebook, into…... [read more]

Australian food, rice processing and information technology companies want to accelerate co-operation and expand operations in Viet Nam, according to Australian officials and business representatives who met yesterday in Sydney with Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue. Viet Nam expects to export head-on shell-on shrimp to Australia. - Photo vietnamfinance.vn SunRice CEO Rob Gordon said a number of Vietnamese firms had exported rice to Australia for his company, which carries 30 product labels and has about 2,100 workers in 60 countries across the world. To reinforce production capacity in Viet Nam, Gordon proposed the Vietnamese Government allow Sunrice to expand investment in the country, transferring skills and sharing scientific technology in rice production, processing and marketing. Deputy PM Hue praised Sunrice’s co-operation with Vietnamese rice trade, which was important for both sides, contributing to food security. He said Viet Nam could supply all types of rice in great volume. The co-operation of rice trade between the two countries grew in 2016 when Viet Nam exported 220,000 tonnes of rice to Australia, over 50 per cent more compared with 2015. To ensure the trade of rice, Hue asked businesses on both sides to meet and discuss doing business. The Vietnamese ministries of Agriculture and Rural Development and Trade and Industry would co-operate with Sunrice to help it develop investment in Viet Nam, he pledged. Speaking with Jan Craps, CEO of Carlton&United Breweries (CBU)…... [read more]

HONG KONG: The dollar suffered fresh losses on Monday (Jul 24), while Asian markets mostly rose as investors await a Federal Reserve policy meeting and the release of big-name earnings results. A man walks past a stock quotation board flashing the Nikkei 225 key index of the Tokyo Stock Exchange in front of a securities company in Tokyo on Jul 24, 2017. (Photo: AFP/Toru Yamanaka) But uncertainty surrounding Donald Trump's presidency continues to drag on sentiment, with Wall Street's three main indexes ending last week on a negative note. The single currency extended last week's rally against the greenback after European Central Bank boss Mario Draghi said policymakers would address its vast stimulus programme by the autumn, fuelling speculation they would start winding it in. In afternoon trade Monday the euro bought US$1.1668, around two-year highs, with analysts predicting it could break above the US$1.1714 mark set in mid-2015. The dollar was also well down against the yen and pound. The unit has struggled as Trump's travails - from a probe into his election campaign's links to Russia to failure to push through health care reforms - dampen expectations he will be able to pass his much-vaunted economic agenda. "Factoring in the expanding US political sinkhole, which is weighing on broader (dollar) sentiment, it's unlikely the market has run out of steam," Stephen Innes, head of Asia-Pacific trading at OANDA, said in…... [read more]

Thanks to strong growth of international markets, favourable exchange rate movements, and new services, as well as strategic project development, Viettel made a profit of VND1 trillion ($43.5 million) from investing abroad. Positive foreign exchange developments helped Viettel's African brands to contribute to the growth Viettel Global’s half-year report states that the company has achieved sales of up to VND14 trillion ($600 million) from its nine international markets. After tax, the profit was VND1 trillion, bringing Viettel Global back to the club of trillion profitable companies from overseas investment activities. The outstanding financial results are due to positive movements in traditional and new markets alike, as well as new strategic projects, strong shifts in new services, and favourable exchange rate movements. Movement in different markets In addition to Laos, Cambodia, and East Timor, which have been consistently fetching good net profits to Viettel Global, other companies in Peru, Burundi or Haiti are also making big contributions to the strong growth. In the first six months of the year, Viettel's sales in Peru and Burundi have exceeded East Timor. Sales in Peru and Burundi grew by 82 and 38 per cent respectively, while East Timor only reached 29 per cent. Even Haiti, the market is currently recovering from the 2016 typhoon, has achieved sales growth of 15 per cent over the same period last year. Peru and East Timor remained the two most…... [read more]

Despite a slowdown dating from the second half of 2016, the pace of the merger-and-acquisition market is expected to pick up in the months to come with many potential deals ahead. Bich Thuy reports. Banking will continue to be among the sectors most appealing to foreign investors for M&A, Photo: Le Toan The Japan-invested Daiwa-SSI Fund is on the way to acquire a 20 per cent stake in Hanoi-based CVI Cosmetic & Pharmaceutical Co. for an undisclosed sum. “We are working on necessary procedures to complete the acquisition by the end of July. The Japanese investment will enable us to develop a factory in the Hoa Lac Hi-Tech Park,” Phan Van Hieu, chairman of CVI, told VIR. Daiwa-SSI’s bid is among the new potential deals for the second half of 2017, while many others are being negotiated. At last week’s press conference on the M&A Vietnam Forum 2017 organised by Vietnam Investment Review and AVM Vietnam, experts said  pharma and healthcare will be among sectors that hold the biggest appeal for mergers and acquisitions (M&A) in 2017 and 2018, driven by the increasing population and growing middle class. “Increasingly deep global integration, through the signing of free trade agreements and the establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community, has contributed to making Vietnam more attractive to international groups and M&A is an effective investment channel,” said Tran Thanh Tam, director of KPMG’s Markets Group. …... [read more]

The construction of the first ultra-clear float glass factory in Vietnam starts in Tan Thanh district, the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau, on July 24 (Photo: baoxaydung.com.vn) Ba Ria-Vung Tau (VNA) – The construction of an ultra-clear float glass factory, the first of its kind in Vietnam, kicked off at the Phu My 2 Industrial Park in Tan Thanh district, the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau, on July 24. Phase I of the plant, owned by the Phu My Ultra Clear Float Glass Co. Ltd, will be carried out from now to 2018 and has total investment of 2.6 trillion VND (about 114.4 million USD). When operational, it is set to produce 600 tonnes of the product a day. Phase II will be built from 2019 to 2022, raising the factory’s capacity to 900 tonnes per day. China’s Kaisheng Science & Technology Group Co., one of the three founders of the Phu My company, pledged to purchase all ultra-clear float glass of the factory. With charter capital of 886 billion VND (39 million USD), the Phu My Ultra Clear Float Glass Co. Ltd was established by the Viglacera Corporation, the Vietnam Urban and Industrial Zone Development Investment Corporation (IDICO), and the Kaisheng group. The factory in Ba Ria-Vung Tau is one of the two ultra-clear float glass plants expected to be constructed in Vietnam. The other is in northern Bac Ninh province. The Prime Minister approved in principle the construction of…... [read more]

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